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Did the athenian courts attempt to achieve consistency? Oral tradition and written records in the athenian administration of justice

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Chapter Summary

This chapter shows that the Athenian courts were far more concerned with consistency than Lanni assumes. The examination of arguments based on precedents has shown that litigants believed that the courts were dedicated to achieving consistency in their application of the law. We have also discovered that we should not underestimate the knowledge of the average Athenian about earlier trials gained by personal experience and oral tradition and from the written records available for past decisions. And the little evidence that we do have suggests that they were able to achieve some consistency in the way they interpreted the law. Of course, they did not reach the goal of perfect consistency in all decisions. But then again, no legal system ever does. The important point is that the Athenians were very concerned about consistency and had the oral and written resources to enable them to pursue this aim.

Keywords: application of the law; Athenian Administration; Athenian courts; Justice; Lanni assumes; litigants; oral tradition; written records



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